Almost 600,000 drivers are missing in Europe 29/04/22

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Source: Almost 600,000 drivers are missing in Europe - eurotransport


Almost 600,000 drivers are missing in



More than 166,000 truck drivers have lost their jobs due to the war between Russia and Ukraine. This is the assumption of the International Road Transport Union (IRU). As a result, the problem of the shortage of drivers is once again considerably exacerbated: At the end of 2021 – i.e. before the war – the number of unfilled jobs was estimated at 380,000 to 425,000.


Poland and Lithuania particularly affected

At that time, there was already a shortage of between 57,000 and 80,000 drivers in Germany, and in Great Britain it looked even worse with 80,000 to 100,000 vacancies. Poland and Romania were also in the red zone with 80,000 and 71,000 missing drivers respectively. The two EU countries are particularly affected, as they had the highest number of drivers from third countries. Of the total of 228,000 driver attestations for non-EU workers in circulation at the end of 2020, 103,000 were issued in Poland, 67,000 in Lithuania.


Poland: Almost a third of third-country drivers

In Poland, almost a third of drivers working in international road transport did not come from the EU. The majority of them were Ukrainians with about 75 percent, followed by Belarusians, who made up about 20 percent. Due to the shortage of drivers, Poland had facilitated the employment of drivers from Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Moldova. Also in Lithuania, most of the third-country drivers were Belarusians, Russians and Ukrainians.


Up to 80 percent drivers from Ukraine or Belarus

Some Polish transport companies have reported that up to 80 percent of their drivers came from the two eastern neighboring countries, according to the IRU. They are hardly in a position to fill the vacancies. As a result, freight rates in Poland reached an all-time high on routes departing from Warsaw in the first quarter. The impact is likely to be felt across Europe, as Polish freight forwarders provide around 20 percent of capacity on the European market.


Historic decline in truck journeys?

This critical situation is being offset by actually negative developments: sanctions, the possible closure of border crossings and a restriction on the supply of goods that are transported could lead to a historic decline in truck journeys. This would mean that the market would need fewer companies, vehicles and drivers. According to border crossing statistics from Poland, Romania, Hungary, Lithuania and Estonia, 50 percent fewer trucks crossed the border between Europe and Russia and between Europe and Ukraine at the end of March compared to the beginning of the conflict.


Author: Regina Weinrich